The Stormers won for a fifth successive time against the Vodacom Bulls. They won because they are a better team, but they won, despite the obvious incompetence of a referee, who allowed the TMO to referee the game, writes Mark Keohane.
They won despite a 44 000 home crowd, with a sprinkling of Stormers/WP jerseys. They won, despite the efforts of the Bulls, coached by one of the best in the world in Jake White. They won because for fifth successive time they were simply too good.
Kudos to the Stormers coach John Dobosn
The Bulls, like in last season’s Vodacom URC final, played in Cape Town, should have buried the Stormers in the first 30 minutes. They dominated field position and possession. But then lost.
At Loftus, spurred on by 40 000 plus and the advantage of altitude, they should have done the same to the Stormers, in terms of field position and possession in the opening 30, which favoured them 70 percent to 30 percent. Yet, by half-time they trailed by a point.
Earlier this week SA Rugby Magazine editor Zelim Nel said no one coach beats the Springboks 2007 World Cup-winning coach Jake White five times in a row, home and away.
There is such respect, admiration and love for Jake at SA Rugby Magainze. Equally, from me.
But John Dobson has beaten his teams, home and away, five times in row. RESPECT to the kid from Cape Town in the world of coaching.
What I loved about the game was the intensity; what I loathed was the refusal of the referee to officiate the match and the bias from the TMO to decide when he wanted to influence play in the match.
It is the lack of balls of a referee and the obvious prejudice of a TMO that infuriates me the most. Watching the Stormers v Bulls evoked every one of those emotions and it was unfair.
It was spectacularly unfair. Watch the replay, unemotionally, and you will see what I mean.
Any proper post-match analysis would embarrass the inconsistency of how they controlled the game. This isn’t just an issue for South Africa and the #URC league, but it is an issue for the game globally. And it has nothing to do with the result. How do these people still have a job a week later?
The Stormers won and the Bulls lost at home for the first time in 13 matches, but most significantly the match officials were a disgrace in a match that demanded integrity. The players delivered; the match officials did not.
PS: I would pick Morne Steyn to play for the Springboks every day of the week.
#URC – @mark_keohane is backing the Stormers to make it five from five against @BlueBullsRugby, while Zels believes the side from Pretoria will extend their 12-game unbeaten run at home in the @Vodacom United Rugby Championship.pic.twitter.com/9slmjQdi3Z
— SA Rugby magazine (@SARugbymag) February 18, 2023